Moores and Esichaikul (2011)
|Moores and Esichaikul (2011)
|Socialization and Software Piracy: A Study
|Moores, T. T., Esichaikul, V.
|Moores, T. T., & Esichaikul, V. (2011). Socialization and software piracy: A study. Journal of Computer Information Systems, 51(3), 1.
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|About the Data
|This study uses primary data collected from a questionnaire survey completed by a target sample of students taking a Masters course in information management, engineering and administration at a university in Thailand.The sample comprised 213 usable responses that contained a demographic distribution of 119 males, 94 females, an average age of 27.4, and an average of 3.7 years of work experience. Over 94% own a computer, with an average of 10.6 years of computer use. Participants were asked to evaluate how much they bought, shared, and used pirated software (defined in terms of frequency of behaviour). Measures of socialization were part of the demographic section of the survey, with questions about gender, age, and years of full-time employment (excluding summer and part-time work).
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We examine the role of age, gender, and work experience on the propensity to buy, share, and use pirated software. These demographics are key properties of the cognitive-developmental, gender socialization, and occupational socialization theories. We find the overall level of reported buying is low, while the level of sharing and use is high. From the perspective of socialization, we find differences in levels of buying based on gender, differences in levels of sharing based on age and gender, and differences in levels of use based on years of work experience. This suggests the source of pirated software has shifted from buying to a diffusion network that involves sharing within certain social groups. The higher rate of use for those with more years of work experience reinforces a continual problem for software vendors: The inability of customers to pay for software that is deemed necessary to conduct business.
Main Results of the Study
Usage levels of pirated software remain high. There has been a shift in acquisition behaviour with users predominantly downloading and sharing pirated software rather than buying pirate discs in-store. Pirated software is shared through a diffusion network of family, friends, and colleagues that requires fewer purchases of pirate discs and is maintained principally by female members. The study provides a better sociological understanding of piracy behaviour and a person's propensity to engage in software piracy as follows:
- Sharing pirated software has twice the impact of buying, in that the diffusion of pirated software amongst a social group is less dependant on the purchase of a pirate disc and more upon the acquisition of a copy through friends, colleagues or peer to peer networks;
- No form of socialisation (age, gender or work experience) can account for a propensity to engage in buying, sharing and using pirated software. Significant correlations are found relative to each single category however;
- Younger people are more likely to share pirated software than older people;
- Males tend to be the initiators (buyers) and females are the facilitators (sharers) of the software piracy diffusion network;
- Number of years of work experience is the only socialisation variable to detect a difference in using pirate software. People with more work experience are more likely to use pirate software.
Policy Implications as Stated By Author
Software vendors need to make strategic decisions to deal with software piracy. It is sensible to continue the policy of raids on companies thought to be using pirated software as well as policing shops and online stores. Controlling software piracy will be most effective by conducting a campaign that raises the awareness of the illegality of software piracy and persuades individuals that software piracy is wrong. Anti piracy campaigners need to adapt to the new market model presented by this study and take account of underlying socio-cultural forces if levels of piracy are to be reduced. Because the piracy market may support the legal market by allowing users to 'try out' software, developers could release feature-restricted, trial versions of their software for certain markets which may reduce the rate of sharing illegal copies amongst users.
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